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Don't change your eating habits based on one news story

(KOMO file photo)

Hardly a week goes by without another medical study that makes headline news.

You’ve probably seen them: Chocolate Relives Stress. Eating Pasta Helps You Lose Weight. Eat More Seafood If You Want to Have More Sex.

Bonnie Liebman, director of nutrition at the Center For Science in the Public Interest, says it's best to be skeptical about these health news flashes.

"You can't depend on the media to point out the flaws or caveats about these studies because most reporters probably don't read the study and probably wouldn't know how to spot the flaws even if they did,” Liebman said. “They usually rely on press releases which tend to exaggerate the findings and ignore the limitations."

Those limitations include ridiculously small sample size, poor controls or funding from a company that makes the food being studied. Many of the studies cited in news stories have not been published or peer reviewed.

Liebman cautions that it’s best to be wary when the results of the study are surprising.

"That may tell you why the study is getting this attention. It's not necessarily a good study or an important study, it's because the study is likely to grab eyeballs,” she said.

Her advice: When it comes to a healthy diet, rely on tried-and-true sources, like the American Heart Association or American Cancer Society.

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